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Respect Is Essential For Leadership

Yesterday, I wrote of disappointment with my U.S. Senator and political decorum in general after a Twitter conversation. Today is a follow-up to that.

The level doesn’t matter. I’ve learned this lesson to be true in every leadership position I’ve held. Every one, from president of a fraternity and a leader in other student organizations, to a leader in the Knights of Columbus, to a leader in numerous church organizations, to a manager overseeing employees, to a father and husband:

Showing respect to those your serve is not charity. Showing respect is a duty.

With the spat with Sen. John Cornyn, his disrespect for a higher office, the Presidency of the United States, is serious issue, but the lack of respect toward a constituent, a person he serves, was more telling of this lesson of leadership. As a leader, sometimes you’re the first among equals—anyone in the room could switch out positions with you without the wheels coming off the axles. Sometimes, you are the leader because your skillset, your knowledge, your abilities are deemed better equipped for the time. Sometimes, you are the leader because you simply are smarter, stronger and have greater ability than anyone else.

In all cases, respect is the cornerstone of an effective leadership platform.

My two-year old provides the perfect test subject for this theory of leadership. I am her leader because I am smarter, stronger and all around better at all things. As her father when she is a toddler, in no area, in which I can defer to her decision. She can have her opinions, but feeding her nothing but cookies in a day, I can never allow.

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Politics Reflections

Respect for the Office

I’m calling an audible and changing up my schedule for the week. Tomorrow’s post is a follow up that focuses on my thoughts on leadership as demonstrated in what happened in today’s post.

Leadership is a privilege. We are all called to some form of leadership: in our homes, workplaces and the civic and church communities. However, positions of leadership are something to be earned and carry a great responsibility.

The present reality in our political system amazes me. If we believe the media and the pundits, “the American people” each fall into a distinct category. We are either liberal or conservative. We are either Democrat or Republican, except for those crazy third-party people to whom no one pays attention.

Our politicians should know better. I know many self-identified Republicans who disagree with the Republican Party on certain platform policies. I know plenty of self-identified Democrats who disagree with their party.

Our politicians, by virtue of representing us before the nation and the world, should strive to be above the mud. I’ll grant that their campaigns are waged by underlings, but the politicians themselves should strive to be the model of decorum and respectful, productive disagreement.

Before I show the example that got me fired up last week, this is not a single-party issue. Both sides have this problem. While I’m about to call out a Republican, I could just as easily done it with a Democrat.

The Honorable John Cornyn, U.S. Senator from Texas, is an outspoken critic of President Obama. His right to be, and truthfully, his duty when he believes his constituents would not be well-served by a policy of the President.